I find it refreshing to watch a foreign movie once in a while. It gives me another perspective on reality, and takes me out of my American middle class bubble, sort of like a trip to Mexico does, or like eating authentic Indian food. Wow, that was different.
“I’ve Loved You So Long” is an odd title for a movie and it may well sound different in French. This is a French movie, with English subtitles, and I definitely needed the subtitles. Moreover, the movie isn’t just a movie where they speak French. It’s French through and through. One of the things I could not help but notice immediately was the constant smoking of the main character, Juliette. I could smell the smoke in my clothes after the movie. It was everywhere, all the time – well, French.
Juliette was played by Kristin Scott Thomas who was in The English Patient. This actress can switch between English and French effortlessly. In this role, she spoke only French.
The story is about two sisters who are reunited after Juliette, the older, comes back from a prison sentence of fifteen years for murder. Juliette is staying which her sister Lea and her family, consisting of a husband, two adoptive Vietnamese daughters, and her husband’s father, a stroke victim whose ability to speak has vanished. No subtitles needed for him.
Being cast into a difficult situation in a family setting, Juliette copes with the integration one small step at a time. As the movie progresses, we are finding out the details of the mysterious crime Juliette has committed so long ago.
When the credits rolled to a French chanson, I sat there listening to the song all the way through, in revery, recapping the tragic story, but also yearning to go to France for a few months, immerse myself in the language and soak in some of its culture.
If I could only leave out the smoke.